Tim Sweeney says Epic Games Store giveaways help boost sales on other platforms

(Image credit: Epic Games)

Epic Games Store giveaways are good for gamers because the games are, you know, free. Obviously they're good for the Epic Games Store, too: You may not like how it compares to Steam, but the odds are pretty good that you've put together a sizable EGS collection by now. But Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney told Gamespot that they're also good for the game companies who give them away, because they boost sales on other platforms and storefronts.

"You're not going to go out and buy—If you're not into games like Satisfactory, you're not going to go out and spend money to buy Satisfactory. But if you get it for free you realize it's an awesome game. People have discovered a lot of great games that way," Sweeney said.

"It's been a benefit for game developers. Most developers who launch their games for free on the store found that their sales on Steam and on console platforms actually increased after they went free on Epic because of increased awareness. And so it's been a really positive thing and it's brought tens of millions of new users into the Epic Games ecosystem, and that's been a wonderful thing for the company."

Sweeney said Epic's weekly giveaways were prompted in part by Humble and GOG, which he described as "really awesome" digital storefronts that launched with more features than EGS, and then spent years trying to reach a half a percent of Steam's market share.

"We realized early on that we needed to take a really, really bold approach, and a disruptive approach, and so the free game program was launched, exclusives were launched. A lot of things we knew would be controversial in some ways, especially with the hardcore Steam gamers who bought hundreds of games on Steam and want to buy all of their games on Steam."

It's working pretty well: As a result of its aggressive approach, the Epic Games Store now holds about a 15 percent market share, and Sweeney said the numbers are still growing. He also acknowledged that it's made him the "arch-nemesis" of some hardcore PC gamers, but he seems to be taking it well.

"It's funny to be seen that way," he said. "It's like, rawrr! Enemies of them all."

The Epic Games Store is currently in the midst of its Epic Mega Sale, which runs until June 11.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.